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Location, attractions, and tourism

Discuss about the Overview of theTongariro National Park.

Tongariro National Park is the one of oldest national park in New Zealand and the fourth national park in the world. It is situated in the midst of Northern Island and has been declared as one of the 28 cultural and natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The active volcanic mountains Tongarito, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are located in the middle of the park which is its main attraction. Besides this, the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is one of the best hikes in the world is also situated in the national park.

It is because of these factors that it is one of the famous tourist destinations .The tourism has an increasing influence on the environment of the mountains situated in the park. The pressure is created on the valuable assets of the nature such as water, biodiversity and climate. It results in environmental degradation, pollution due to disposal of the waste, destruction of the habitats and loss of biodiversity due to installation of the infrastructures for the benefit of the tourists.

Due to the change in the climate, the various tourists models and solutions are being developed as the traditional methods of promotions of tourism are being affected by it. For example, ski tourism is being affected by the climate change in Tongariro national park, due to which the production of artificial snow is becoming problematic as a result of rising temperatures (Université of Genève, 2014).

According to Ministry for the Environment (n.d.) the climate of the national park has become warmer in spite of the cool airflow from the southern side. The average temperature has been increased by 0.9oC from 1906 to 2006. There is a decrease in the number of frost days and an increase has been noted in the duration of the rainfall in the west side of the country which has greatly impacted the climate of the national park and hence its tourists.

The national park is facing the acceleration in its temperature which has surpassed the predicted rise in the temperature. The cloudiness has been increased along with rainfall leading to snow falls, out of season frosts and freeze thaw cycles which has resulted in adverse effects on the biodiversity of the park.

Due to the climate change, the animals are forced to hunt for their suitable habitats in further south or higher up which is beyond their geographic or altitudinal range. Some of the species who are unable to search for the new habitats will be forced to adjust themselves with the current weather conditions and this may result in their death or inability to cope up with life.

To add on the misery, the timings of the seasonal activities of forest such as breeding, flowering, migration and growth is disturbing its eco system and hence its species are struggling for their existence. Due to the climate change, there is a possibility to bring new combinations of the organisms and new interactions of forest with the existing species which may result into some deadly diseases.

Pressure on the environment and climate change

 The interactions of the predator and prey, development of flora and fauna and the below ground processes such as decomposition is   greatly affected by change in the climatic conditions and increase in the Carbon Di Oxide gas. Furthermore, the existing animals are highly affected as compared to the species of the foreign land which are existing in the national park. Additionally, there is a long term impact on the development of soil due to climate change. It has resulted in intense erosion of the glaciers and their windblown loessic dust which has strongly affected the soil of the national park. It has also resulted in losing of mineral nutrients of the soil.

There is a disruption of the semi-regular cycles of the development and reduction of the species which are adapted to warm and cold climate in the Tongariro National Park. So, as a result those animals which reside in their national habitats are forced to adapt to the adverse weather conditions which may result in their death resulting in the extinction of their species (The Guardian, 2016).

Furthermore, the impact of climate change has affected the tourism and recreation activities in the Tongariro National Park. The transformations in the environmental resources which are the foundation of tourism such as skiing and species habitats for eco-tourism are having a great impact. The variations in the precipitation level along with temperature, depth of the snow, wind speed and humidity has greatly affected the tourism activities.

To curb this problem, the Environmental law of New Zealand comprises of two legislations viz. the Conservation Act 1987 and Resource Management Act 1991. The Conservation Act sets the enactment for the protection of land, plant and water of the country. The government of the country is attempting to remove inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels and providing funding funds for research to reduce the emissions (New Zealand Government, 2016). It is formulating rules for developing international responses to climate change. Furthermore, it has encouraged the authorities and citizens to grow more trees in the national park by giving them financial incentives for removing carbon from the environment. It has focused to reduce the global emissions up to 25 % by 2050.

Besides this, the government along with NGOs is attempting to build public infrastructure which can nullify the effects of storms, rising sea levels and natural disasters. It is improving the access to water by rainwater harvesting on draught prone areas in the national park (WTTC, 2016).

Internationally, the tourism industry is responsible for emitting 21 % of the carbon dioxide of the world and it is estimated that this number will increase by a quarter by 2035 (Knowsley, 2016).In the nearby hotels of the national park, large quantities of waste and emissions are produced, so the government  should take proper actions to mitigate the green gas emissions  from the tourism industry. Throughout the tourism industry of New Zealand, sustainability and sustainable development are a part of the ongoing dialogue amongst the stakeholders. The identified stakeholders regarding the implementation of sustainable developmental practices in the national park are tourism professionals, public authorities, press and the local residents of the country. An effective stakeholder engagement must ensure the reduction in the conflicts amongst the tourists and the host community by involving the latter in developing the tourism in a sustainable manner in the national park (Frommers, 2018).

Impact on biodiversity and ecosystem

Thus the stakeholders are divided into five major classes’ viz. tourists, host communities, government, tourism business and the industry providing ancillary services to the tourism industry. Each category of stakeholders is important for sustainable stakeholder practices since they are the crucial participants of the strategic planning and the management processes.

The tourists should be responsible for conserving and benefitting the natural resources, local communities, environment and the culture of the national park. In this regard the National Park Act 1980 has been formulated by the government of Australia which focuses on the conservation of the national parks for its benefit and utilization by the current and future generations (Department of Conservation, n.d.). Similarly, the review of the policies of the national park should be managed to balance conservation and tourism. As since the last five years the tourism industry in New Zealand has developed itself from 2.5 million to 3.5 million of visitors per year, so there is a need for developing proper public infrastructure for amenities such as toilets and car parks ( Tongariro River Motel ,2018) .

Lastly, one such example of visitor management at Tongariro Alpine Crossing is that during the busy season, the visitors are allowed to park their vehicles outside the national park and they use shuttle buses for decreasing the congestion and to mitigate the social and environmental impact as well (Begum, Alam & Sahazali, 2014).

Conclusion

Hence, to conclude, it can be said that sustainable tourism is crucial for any country for its survival in the long run. The conservation of resources such as water, energy, biodiversity is important to prevent the probable hazards to the current and future generations. Furthermore, a change in the climate has great impact on the environment, economy and life of the national parks of New Zealand.

References

Begum, H., Alam, F. & Sahazali, N. (2014). Tourist’s perceptions towards the role of stakeholders in sustainable tourism. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences ,144 ( 2014 ) ,313 – 321.

Department of Conservation (n.d.). National Parks Act 1980. Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from https://www.doc.govt.nz/about-us/our-role/legislation/national-parks-act/

Frommers (2018). New Zealand: Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in New Zealand. Retrieved April 20th, 2018  from https://www.frommers.com/destinations/new-zealand/sustainable-travel--ecotourism

Knowsley, A.(2016). Understanding Carbon emission mitigation in the New Zealand accommodation industry : A mixed method study. Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from https://aut.researchgateway.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10292/10458/KnowsleyA.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y

Ministry for the Environment (2016). Overview of likely climate change impacts in New Zealand. Retrieved April 19th, 2018 from https://www.mfe.govt.nz/climate-change/likely-impacts-of-climate-change/overview-of-likely-climate-change-impacts

Ministry for the Environment (n.d.).  Vulnerability assessment, climate change impacts and adaptation measures. Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from https://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate-change/new-zealands-fifth-national-communication-under-united-nations-framewo-1

New Zealand  Government (2016). New Zealand  Action on Climate Change  . Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Climate%20Change/nz%27s-action-climate-change.pdf

The Guardian (2016). Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them. Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/22/climate-change-national-parks-threat

Tongariro National Park Villages (n.d.). Welcome To Tongariro National Park. Retrieved April 20th, 2018 from https://www.nationalpark.co.nz/

Tongariro River Motel (2018). National Park General Policy and Sustainable Tourism. Retrieved April 20th, 2018  from https://www.tongarirorivermotel.co.nz/sustainable-tourism/

Université of  Genève (2014). Tourism in Mountain Regions: Hopes, Fears and Realities. University of Geneva : The Department of Geography and Environment. University of Bern : the Centre for Development and Environment. United Nations Environment Program.

WTTC (2016). How national parks around the world influenced sustainable tourism development. Retrieved April 20th, 2018  from https://medium.com/@WTTC/how-national-parks-around-the-world-influenced-sustainable-tourism-development-6e149cfc0688

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